Thursday update

Daily Business Live: Lockdown extended; Petrofac setback

5.15pm: Government extends lockdown

The UK’s coronavirus lockdown measures will be extended for at least three more weeks until 7 May, First Secretary of State Dominic Raab has announced.

Mr Raab said there are indications that social distancing is showing success, though the evidence is “mixed and inconsistent”, and in some settings infections are increasing.

“We still don’t have infection rates down as much as we need to,” he said.

New York’s lockdown measures will be extended until 15 May, the governor has said.

4.45pm: Market close

The FTSE100 steadied after yesterday’s plunge, and recovered earlier additional losses to close at 5,628.43 +30.78 (0.55%).

2pm: BTR funding deal

Springside Edinburgh

Apache Capital Partners and alternative real asset investment firm Harrison Street are to fund a build-to-rent development in Fountainbridge in central Edinburgh.

The £215m Moda Living scheme, known as Springside, will include 476 homes alongside 48 existing, fully leased apartments.

Start on-site is expected this year with completion in 2022.

The investment, which closed in February 2020, is the fourth project in the BTR joint venture between Apache Capital Partners and Harrison Street, launched in 2018 and includes investment from NFU Mutual to deliver BTR projects in core cities across the UK.

12.30pm: Building merger

Rodger Group, parent company of M&J Builders Merchants, has acquired South Lanarkshire Building Supplies , with support funding from Royal Bank of Scotland.

The merger has enabled SLB to expand its offering, upgrade facilities and redevelop the  branch by updating its display areas with further developments in the pipeline. These will include a computer system upgrade and the addition of an e-commerce website.

11.10am: New CEO for bank

Eilidh Mactaggart has been appointed the first CEO of the Scottish National Investment Bank.

Full story here: including remuneration package

8.15am: Market open

The FTSE100 pared back some of yesterday’s rout, opening slightly higher at 5,620.31 +22.66 (0.40%).

7.40am: Petrofac deal cancelled

Shares in Petrofac fell 14% after the oil services company received a project termination notice from the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC).

The termination notice was for two recently awarded contracts for the Dalma Gas Development Project, awarded in February to the Petrofac Emirates unit. The project had been valued at $1.65bn.

Petrofac said its remaining order backlog amounted to about $7bn and it continues tendering for major contracts in Abu Dhabi. However, anticipates delays in project awards.

“Petrofac is committed to working with ADNOC over the coming weeks to explore alternative options to deliver this project in a way that supports their strategic objectives within the current challenging environment,” it said.

7.05am: easyjet hits back


EasyJet has hit back in a row with its founder, saying it has no ability to terminate the contract with Airbus.

Full story here

7am: Stem cell firm for sale

Collagen Solutions, the Glasgow-based stem cell research company, has put itself up for sale and confirms it is in discussions with a number of parties.

Full story here

6.10am: Retail slump

Multrees Walk, shop, retail, Edinburgh

Retail sales plunged at their fastest pace on record in March as the coronavirus shook consumer confidence.

Sales plummeted by 4.3%, against a decrease of 1.8% in March 2019. In February, sales had climbed 0.1% year-on-year.

The British Retail Consortium-KPMG monitor described it as the worst decline recorded since the monitor began in January 1995.

Before the 23 March lockdown, retail sales had climbed 12% as shoppers in the UK stockpiled in fear of future shortages due to the pandemic.

The figures came as Oasis and Warehouse fell into administration amid concern that buyers will be in short supply.

6am: More help for business

The UK Treasury is expected to unveil a sweeping rescue package for start-up businesses within days as criticism mounts over the emergency support on offer for companies battling through the lockdown.

Ministers are rushing ahead with a bailout plan for loss-making companies whose funding pools have dried up since normal life was put on hold, according to the Daily Telegraph.

It came as the Government’s furlough scheme was extended to support up to 200,000 more workers at risk of losing their jobs.

Details of the start-up rescue package are yet to be finalised, although it is thought to centre around a co-investment strategy – where investors continue to back fast-growing firms but their funding is matched by the taxpayer.

5am: Oil and Asia

Japan’s Nikkei traded 276 points or 1.4% lower at 19,274 while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was 0.8% lower at 23,956.

West Texas Intermediate crude rose 60 cents a barrel or 3% from its lowest close since 2002 to $20.46, and Brent crude rose 80 cents to $28.50 a barrel.

Wednesday 10.30pm: US hit by economic woes

Dismal US economic and first-quarter earnings reports added to concerns over the extent of damage from the coronavirus outbreak dragging down on the Wall Street indices.

Falling earnings at the banks contributed to the Dow Jones Industrial Average sliding by 445.41 points, or 1.86%, while the S&P 500 lost 62.7 points, or 2.20%, and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 122.56 points, or 1.44%.

Retail sales plunged 8.7% in March and manufacturing output dropped by the most in more than 74 years.

The London market suffered a torrid day as investors fretted over economic forecasts, the falling oil price and weak data from the US. The FTSE 100 closed down 193.66 points (3.34%) at 5,597.65

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